As the federal government’s drive towards vaccinating eligible Nigerians against COVID-19 continues, the roll out of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in the country is yet another opportunity Nigerians can harness to get vaccinated and protected against the virus.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib said, the “Johnson & Johnson offers a single-dose opportunity for full vaccination, which means if you take one dose of the vaccine, you are regarded as a fully vaccinated person.
“However, we strongly recommend a booster dose after two months of taking the initial dose to strengthen your level of immunity against COVID-19. A second dose of J&J vaccine serves as the booster dose.”
The Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out in the country in February this year, and the country has received millions of doses from Italy, Spain, other European countries as well as from the COVAX facility.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the country has adequate stock of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine which is also known as Janssen vaccine.
“I call on all eligible persons that are yet to receive their vaccination to go to the nearest COVID-19 vaccination site and get vaccinated. This single dose offers the same protection you get from two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer Bio-N-Tech and Moderna vaccines,” he said.
WHO Nigeria country representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said the J and J vaccine as the only single dose COVID-19 vaccine approved for use to date, is an important tool for accessing hard-to-reach populations, and thus plays a critical role in preventing infections and reducing deaths across Nigeria.
He said, “As I mentioned at different fora, vaccines are a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19. These vaccines are safe and effective and will be the game-changer: but for the foreseeable future, we must continue wearing masks, physically distance and avoid crowds.”
Experts at the WHO also said the vaccine is safe and effective for all individuals aged 18 and above.
They also say no safety issues have been identified following the vaccination of more than 1,600 pregnant women using the vaccine, and that animal developmental and reproductive toxicity studies show no harm to the development of the foetus.
However, WHO said individuals with a history of anaphylaxis to any component of the vaccine should not take the vaccine.
WHO also said, “People who have had Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS) following the first dose of this vaccine should not receive a second dose of the same vaccine.
“Anyone with a body temperature over 38.5ºC should postpone vaccination until they no longer have a fever.
“This vaccine is not recommended for persons younger than 18 years of age pending the results of further studies in that age group.”
The expert say the vaccine is safe, and effective against new variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus.